Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

Four ways to eat the Lord as the tree of life

The Bible is a book of life (Gen. 2:9; Psa. 36:8-9; John 10:10b; Rev. 22:14), so we need to focus on life whenever we come to its pages. At its beginning, you can see the beautiful garden of Eden with the tree of life at its center (Gen. 2:9). The only other tree mentioned by name was the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and God warned man not to eat of that tree. What’s the point? God wants man to choose to eat the tree of life.

What is the “life” signified by the “tree of life”? It’s the eternal life of God.


First, we need to see that the Bible speaks of three kinds of lives—the physical life (that’s bios in Greek), the psychological life (psyche) and the divine life (zoe). Adam and Eve already had the physical and psychological life. What they needed was the divine zoe-life. It is the same with us today.

God created us with such a purpose and in such a way that we could eat this zoe-life. In fact, this is the need of every God-created human being. Refer to my post, “What is eternal life?” for a further consideration of these three kinds of life.

What then is the tree of life? It’s Christ, who is both “the Life” and “the Vine.”

This tree of zoe is nothing less than God Himself, incarnated in His Son Jesus Christ. The Gospel of John says, “In Him [Christ] was life and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). Then the Lord Jesus went on to say, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6) and “I am the vine” (John 15:5a).

So, the tree of zoe is the Lord Jesus Himself as the vine-tree. I’m so glad that this tree was not signified by a pine tree shooting high into the air, but by a vine-tree, low to the ground, and easy for us to take in. You can read more about this in my post,“ Have You Eaten the Tree of Life Today?

How can we eat the Lord as the tree of life, as the “zoe-life”?

Let’s consider four practical ways that we can eat the Lord as this zoe-life.

First, we can eat Him by eating His words—Matt.4:4; John 6:57, 63.

Many people read the Bible without ever receiving “zoe” from their reading. I confess, this has often been my case.

So what’s the problem? The Scriptures, in their black and white letters, don’t give life. In fact, the apostle Paul said, “the letter kills” (2 Cor. 3:6).

What doesn’t kill? It’s the Lord, as the Spirit embodied in His word (v. 6b). So, whenever we read the Bible, God’s written word, we need to come to Christ, God’s living Word, so that we may have life (John 5:39-40). Whenever we contact Him as the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) on any page of the Bible, we receive His spoken, applied words (rhema) which are spirit and life to us (John 6:63). Calling on the Lord and prayer are the means for us to contact the Lord in the Word (Psa. 119:147; Eph. 6:17-18).

The best way I know to practically eat the Lord in the Word is to “pray-read” it. Try taking a golden verse like John 3:16 and turn every word into your personal prayer to the Lord. You might say, “God so loved the world. O Lord, how great is Your love!  You are even love itself! Thank you Lord; Your love for this sinful world included me.” And so on. By the time you’re done, I believe you’ll not only love the Lord more, but you’ll be richly nourished by Him as the tree of life. Try it and see for yourself. In addition, I’d love to receive your comments sharing your helpful experiences of eating the Lord in His word.

Second, we can eat Him by doing the Father’s will to satisfy the hungry and thirsty ones with this life.

After the Lord Jesus gave the Samaritan woman in John 4 a drink of living water, His disciples offered Him some physical food. But, he answered that He had food to eat that they did not know about. His food was to do the Father’s will in satisfying the thirst of the Samaritan woman (John 4:34).

It’s the same with us today. After we’ve been nourished by the Lord as the tree of life, we want to share with others the nourishing words we have enjoyed (1 Tim. 4:6). (This is actually one of the reasons I enjoy blogging so much.)

When we give others food (Matt. 24:45), we also eat the Lord as the tree of life by doing the Father’s will in satisfying the hungry and thirsty ones.

Third, we can eat the Lord by contacting the proper people.

We need to consider our contact with people as a kind of eating. That’s what the Lord revealed to Peter in his prayer in Acts 10:9-16. A trance came over him and the Lord showed him all kinds of animals, reptiles and birds lowered in a sheet. He said to him, “Rise up, Peter; slay and eat!” but Peter, said, “By no means, Lord…” The Lord did this three times and took up the sheet.

While Peter was considering what this vision could possibly mean, three men sent by a Roman Centurion came to where Peter was staying, requesting him to come and speak God’s word to them. From this experience, Peter realized that the “eating” the Lord revealed to him in the vision referred to his contacting the Gentiles for the preaching of the gospel.

Today our contact with people is also a kind of “eating.” Like Cornelius, the Roman Centurion, we should contact people like Peter who are full of God’s word and have a discerning walk—a walk led by the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25).

The proper kind of  people for us to contact are portrayed by the acceptable kinds of creatures God permitted His people to eat in Leviticus (Lev. 11:1-3, 9,  21). He permitted them to eat: 1) those, like the clean animals, that have discernment in their activities and receive God’s word with much reconsideration (Psa. 119:15), 2) those, like the fish, who can live in the world, yet resist its influence (Lev. 11:9), 3) those, like the birds, that can live and move in a life above the world and take in “seeds” of life, and 4) those, like the insects, that can “leap above the world,” that can live and move in a life that is above the world (v. 21).

Fourth, we can eat Him by feasting on Him in meetings on the unique ground of oneness.

Eating the Lord as the zoe-life is not only something personal. There is also the need for us to eat the Lord in a corporate way. We can see a picture of this kind of eating in the practice of children of Israel going up to Zion, the place for keeping the oneness for the seven annual feasts (Deut. 12:5-7). There they brought the top tenth of their produce of the good land to offer to God and to feast before Him with their kinsmen.

Today, we also need to eat the Lord as the tree of life, the zoe-life, by bringing our top portion of the enjoyment of Christ to meetings on the unique ground of oneness to feast with the Lord and with our brothers and sisters in the Lord (Col. 1:12; 1 Cor. 14:26).

“Lord Jesus, praise You for revealing Yourself to us as the tree of life, the zoe-life. Lord may we see the crucial importance of eating the tree of life in fulfilling Your eternal plan. Lord may we advance in our eating of Your word to contact You each time we read the Bible and receive Your applied words that give us Your life so that we may grow. Also remind us to daily eat You by doing Your will in supplying the hungry and thirsty ones with spiritual food and by contacting the proper persons that will cause us to receive more life. And do lead us into the proper corporate eating with Your people on the ground of oneness to satisfy Your heart’s desire and express You.”

This post is an overflow of my enjoyment from the Holy Word for Morning Revival on “The Crucial Elements of the Bible, Week 5.

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

7 Replies

  1. Alex Tesoro

    ~ By eating Christ as the tree of life, we can live on the line of life and live out the New Jerusalem and work out the New Jerusalem to bring the Lord Jesus back to this earth for His second coming and to be prepared to be His bride.

    1. Alex,

      Yes, it is so good to see that eating Christ as the tree of life is not merely to satisfy our personal hunger but to carry God’s purpose. When we see this view, our eating will rise to a higher level. We eat to live by the principle of life, that is, in dependence on the Lord. On this line we’re living out and working out the New Jerusalem, to prepare the bride and bring the Lord back. What a high view of eating the Lord!

  2. Jessica

    I really enjoyed” Second, we can eat Him by doing the Father’s will to satisfy the hungry and thirsty ones with this life”
    Amen and Amen. Its the best way to eat of the Tree of Life, when recently became to the Church life the Elders in my locality encourage me and my mother to share with the newones and even at first I didn`t understand how could be posible if I hadn`t enough constitution but was so amaizing!! My mother and me enjoyed sooo much with the newones, and I grateful with the Lord for that experience!! Its the way to grow in life!! Praise the Lord.

    1. Jessica, thank you for your encouraging comment. It’s so good that the Lord has shown us these four ways to eat the tree of life. First, we need to receive the divine life by enjoying the Lord in His word. Second, we need to satisfy the hungry and thirsty ones, by flowing out the life supply that we have received. Otherwise, we’ll be a hose with no outlet and the flow of life will stop. Third, we need to find some others who are receiving God’s word with much consideration and who have a discerning walk with Him. By attaching ourselves to such ones we uplift our eating our eating of the tree of life. We all need such vital companions. Fourth, we need to share our enjoyment of Christ in meetings on the ground of oneness. By such an eating of the tree of life we build up the Body of Christ.

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